What President Obama’s State of the Union Address Means for Jobs in America – Now and in the Future
February 02, 2011
After President Obama’s State of the Union Address the other night, it should be clear to you things have changed in America.
The realities of the good and bad of it as it relates to employment in general and specifically federal employment follow. There are 7 main points I’ll cover. I’ll start with the worst and work my way to the hopeful.
1. Green Jobs: Don’t expect green jobs to appear overnight. There was mention of green or clean energy initiatives and new infrastructure for roads and high speed trains. Don’t get too excited too soon. No, green jobs are not quite the next “big” thing. We have been talking green for a long time with relatively little progress. Thus, I’m skeptical because talk is cheap and gas isn’t. I attended a Green Careers and Business Summit earlier this month. There are some fascinating findings and research but you will have to educate yourself to be a viable player as these new careers emerge. There are new Green and Sustainability Degree programs and business/government partnerships springing up that are hopeful…for the future.
2. Headcount: The need for manpower will continue to decline. That means there will be fewer jobs as we know them in America, until the next really big thing comes along. And even then the need for jobs will not be as much as before. As the President stated, “With advances in technology and productivity, what used to take 1,000 people now takes 100.” I’ll add “or less.” Without proper skills the jobs of the future will be out of reach for most so really consider the skills and experience you will need for today and tomorrow.
3. Reorganization and Process Improvement: The government will be reorganizing the same way corporations restructure; as in “more often.” Think lean, mean machine. Skills they will be seeking include: Six sigma, project management, business process improvement, consulting, streamlining, strategy consulting. These are skills likely to be highly valued in government and the creator of Lean Six Sigma is already starting the push into government. That could also be good news for the over-40 job seekers who have the experience of making things happen at break neck pace from their corporate days and have a breadth and depth of experience.
4. Competition for Federal Jobs…or Any Jobs: Even with government cuts in jobs or spending there are still thousands of needs – so get going, get your federal job search in high gear and land that federal job. Even with cuts there will still be thousands of federal jobs. But the competition will get stiffer.
5. Think Global-Agencies to Keep an Eye On. Include The Department of Defense, Homeland Security, The State Department, CIA. Our focus will be on international and foreign issues as much as they will be to the issues at home. Consider opportunities to work abroad on America’s behalf. If you bring an international perspective, even better. Perhaps you speak another language, have experience in dealing with commerce, trade or exports to other countries. Your experience will be needed.
6. Veterans Services: As the war comes to an end Veterans will need your help. That means private and public sector opportunities avail to serve the thousands and their families. But it also means addressing their employment, housing and re-entry into society adjustments. It won’t be easy.
7. Education, Innovation and Research: This was the first state of the union address I’ve heard where the emphasis on The Department of Education was overwhelming. Look at the government programs for creating better schools, better teachers, better education, alternative education tracks will be expanding even more to create a force of “nation builders.” That’s what they call teachers in S. Korea. That Math or Science degree is worth a lot to you, our youth and the nation.
Did you see or hear President Obama’s speech? What are your thoughts on jobs in America?
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